This week the latest pronouncement in the Budweiser trade name war was released. For those of you not in the know, both AB InBev (who make American Budweiser) and Budvar (Czech Budweiser) lay claim to the name in various areas of the world. In the UK, there is the unusual situation of both companies simultaneously registering the trademark “given their long-standing history of honest co-existence in the UK market”. However AB InBev challenged this in 2005 and 5 years later their challenge has been rejected by the Court of Appeal. The grounds of the appeal was that AB InBev (then Anheuser-Busch) lodged their registration in 1976 and Budvar in 1989. You might say that the cold war and the communist rule of the country until just before the fall of the Berlin Wall delayed the registration documents being delivered to London.

However the dispute goes back over 100 years, when the Czechs started importing the beer to the USA, but there was not one Czech Budweiser, but two, both from the same town (this is because Budweiser literally means Beer brewed in town of Bud?jovice). It took until from 1907 to 1911 to reach the agreement that Anheuser-Busch would have the US trademark and the Czech companies taking the European markets. In many mainland European countries, the US beer has to be marketed as “Bud” or “Anheuser-Busch B” (Germany), while in the US the Czech beer has been renamed to “CzechVar”.

One rather serious consequence of this was that AB InBev could not put up Budweiser advertising at the 2006 World Cup in Germany despite them paying large amounts of money to sponsor the tournament.
I’m pleased that this has been upheld, as I think the Czechs do make great beer and Budvars’ is no exception. My views on the US import are not favourable and can be summed up politely as “a poor bland beer”.

At the time of printing we will be a month away from us all becoming adopted Irishmen (and women) for the evening of St Patricks Day. I’ve experienced this in Dublin, Ireland in 2000 and its a fantastic night out I would recommend to anyone, the atmosphere is quite unique as you wind your way through Temple Bar on the shores of the Liffey. However over here its all leprechauns, shamrocks and an “Oirish” tint on the decor with Guinness and Magners dominating the promotion of the evening, and for many people, it being the only night of the year they will drink Guinness.

Its a unique situation where a countries’ saints day is celebrated across the world, I can think of no other peer to St Partick in this aspect. I thoroughly partook in the day when I was younger and didn’t have commitments and am still partial to a few pints of Guinness every now and then (especially when at an airport waiting to board a plane), despite me knowing there are far better stouts / porters out there. It’s one of those drinks which seem to have a ritual grown up around them, with the trademark pour, settle, top up dispensing of the pint. It’s also a relatively safe pint to order when you are faced with a wall of tasteless Stella, Fosters and Carling at the bar.

After the world tour above, we now return to Calderdale. This week saw 4 new beers tried and despite being decent pints, none have stood out enough for me to recommend them by name, even one I normally like wasn’t quite right this week. When I walked into the Ring O’Bells in Halifax on Saturday with my youngest daughter, I had to ask if they were open when faced with someone walking around in their dressing gown. However the place is still well recommended if you have children and want a decent selection of real ale and well priced food. The staff were fantastic with my daughter and that is something which will get repeat visits from myself. Like the Guide Inn last week, the welcome makes a pub as I highlighted in one of my first columns in this slot.

However I cannot do a column without recommending at least 1 beer and this week I will turn to the bottled variety, Brakspear Oxford Gold (available at Sainsburys and Morrisons, 4.2%), is golden beer, with a slight sharpness and nice body of flavours from the organic hops and barley, slipping down the throat like a good beer should. On that note I wish you good health until next week.